Warships in the Russian Northern fleet's main base Severomorsk north of Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula.(Photo: Thomas Nilsen)
Russia’s actions in Ukraine could cause problems for international cooperation in the Arctic, says Iceland’s Prime Minister. Putin’s armor bearer, Dmitri Rogozin, calls for rearming after “overt threats” by NATO.
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin posted the following message on his Facebook profile on Saturday: “After the overt threats by the United States and NATO nobody will doubt the necessity of rearming our army and fleet and of reviving our defense industry and military science.”
Rogozin is in charge of Russia’s defense industry and was Russia’s ambassador to NATO from 2008 to 2011.
Last week, BarentsObserver reported that the United States plans to cancel participation in the trilateral Northern Eagle warship exercise in the Barents- and Norwegian Seas, supposed to also include vessels from Norway and Russia’s Northern fleet. Defense Secretary Check Hagel to reporters in Pentagon on Thursday that he has ordered suspension of all military-to-military engagements and exercises.
“Earlier this week, I directed the Department of Defense to suspend all military-to-military engagements and exercises with Russia. And yesterday, I announced a series of steps [the department] will take to reinforce allies in Central and Eastern Europe during this crisis,” Hagel said according to a news brief posted on the Department of Defense’s portal.
Iceland’s Prime Minister, Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, said to reporters in Canada this weekend that Russia’s actions in Ukraine could cause problems for the most important cooperation arena for the eight Arctic nations, the Arctic Council which Canada currently chair.
“This has a ripple effect, even though the actual events (in Crimea) are far from the Arctic,” said Gunnlaugsson, quoted by The Canadian Press. “Clearly, it has made many players in the Arctic quite worried about developments and whether they might be a sign of what is to come.”
Another move that could make east-west relations in the Barents Region colder is Moscow’s mulling to ban US nuclear arms inspection under the New START treaty. RIA Novosti reported Sunday that Russia’s Defense Ministry is considering a ban in US inspections of Russian strategic nuclear weapons, of which hundreds are deployed on the Northern fleet’s Delta-IV nuclear powered submarines based in Gadzhievo north of Murmansk. Other hundreds are stored across the bay from Severomorsk, also that on the Kola Peninsula.
The New START agreement was signed by President Barack Obama and the-President Dmitri Medvedev back in 2010. The treaty envisages curbing the two countries arsenals of strategic nuclear weapons by half by 2021 and opens for joint on-site inspections.
Gazprom Neft has for the first time sent oil from Yamal along the northern Sea Route in winter conditions. 16.000 tons of crude oil was shipped to European consumers by oil tanker, escorted by a nuclear icebreaker.
Russia is prepared to protect its interests in the Arctic with military means if necessary, says Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu, pointing to the increasing interest in the region’s resources by countries with no direct access to the Arctic.
“Ship-to-ship reloading of oil in icy-waters outside Kirkenes is a great example that Norway jeopardizes nature by lowering safety standards in our race for industrialization of the north,” says Lars Haltbrekken, head of the Norwegian Society for the conservation of Nature.
The UK needs to up its game in the Arctic or risk being «outmaneuvered” by other states, and should start by appointing an ambassador to the region, according to a report by the House of Lords Arctic Committee.
Could the Northern Sea Route be suitable for shipment of fish from the Far East to the European parts of Russia and vice versa? Stake holders in Russia’s fisheries industry and fishery authorities believe so.
“Whatever the pressure, Rakurs will continue to support LGBT community, to provide legal and psychological help. And we are going to challenge this wrongful decision in the court,” says Tatiana Vinnichenko, head of the organization.